As you know, social work is my second career after 20 odd years in long term care nursing. The similarities between the two careers are not necessarily related to the service of others, a drive to care, the quintessential feminine quality to both worlds - - but the opportunity for creativity - designing new solutions, discovering new skills, deciding new approaches. Theory guides, but both creativity declares.
The last few weeks on the work front have been intense as I finish up older projects, and plan new initiatives, and carry on the normal daily tasks. I feel pulled in different directions, and unable to give 100% to anything, which is a difficult place for me to find myself.
My default response to challenge is complete absorption. It's nearly impossible for me to be able to divide my focus between any two things. The risk of continuing like this is burn out - a deadly consequence for any nurse or social worker - - or artist. (GASP!) The first sign, which I initially didn't associate with the way I was processing work, was the inability to lose myself in a quilting project - my go-to for self-care. I was completely uninspired by projects already in the works, and all attempts to try something new ended up in the landfill.
Soon I was coming home after work exhausted, irritable. This week I had three nights in a row when I didn't sleep well at all. I was waking up in the wee hours thinking about my most complex and challenging clients, and not coming up with any new ideas as to how to help them. In a few days I started having frequent flutterings (think less butterfly, and more goldfish flopping outside of its bowl) in my chest - a certain sign the stress was becoming too much. I had ignored taking care of me for too long.
I need to remember - - quilting isn't just something I do to exercise my creativity, it's a key part to wellness for me. It feeds me, and is as important as a good night's sleep, fresh air and sunshine. I've spent most of the last week or two just cutting scraps. Today I played with 2.5" squares all day. I actually ended up piecing a baby quilt top together, and even have the border ready to apply. I'll post pictures soon.